Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 31 July 2017

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Attended the Official Presentation of the annual Mayor’s Golf Day Cup to the winning team


Presenting the cup to the winning team – Neasham Refrigeration, with Andy Gaffney, Ralf Gayle, Kevin Smith and George Richardson at the Town Hall, Stockton.

Teams taking part in the annual Mayors Charity Golf Day have raised £7,000 that will benefit three worthy Charities. We hosted this event on the 6th June at the Wynyard Golf Club where 24 teams took part. The winning team was Neasham Refrigeration and Catering Equipment a subsidiary of Country Harvest Meats, comprising of Andy Gaffney (Captain for the day), Ralf Gayle, Kevin Smith and George Richardson, who were runners up last year.

The winning team were presented with the official engraved cup and the cheque for £7,000 provided for the Mayors Charities which are Meningitis, The Motor Neurones Disease Association and the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Centre Ltd.

I’ve got to say that I was absolutely thrilled at the amount of money that was raised and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part and the people who helped to organise the event.


Thursday 3 August 2017

Hosted the Opening of the Riverside Festival at Arc, Stockton


Ruben Kench - introduction to the evenings event




SIRF Launch with its opening event took place on Thursday 3 August 2017 at Stockton Riverside with a Civic event at the ARC.

Guests were hosted at the ARC with refreshments on arrival. I proceeded to welcome the guests to the launch of the 30th Stockton International Riverside Festival and was delighted to wish SIRF a happy 30th birthday.

Many of the guests had been to SIRF before and knew what a uniquely exciting event it is. For those that hadn’t been before I urged them to come along over the course of the weekend to see the variety and spectacle that local people have come to know and love.

SIRF presents shows from across the world and enjoys an international reputation. The event brings people into the town, encouraging people to rediscover the town centre and come back throughout the year to shop and to attend other events. In recent weeks the excitement has been building as the tents, stages and structures have appeared in the town. Carnival groups have rehearsed their routine, the familiar SIRF logo put up in shop windows, banners were out, signage was up, and people were planning their itinerary so that they could see as many of the shows as possible. SIRF is Stockton’s signature event; it’s ambitious, dynamic, authentic, diverse and inclusive. It’s the product of many people’s hard work, expertise, dedication and the Councils vision and commitment. And long may it continue.

Reuben Kench introduced the evening celebrations and talked about culture in a regional context then played a C4C Film and provided a lookback at SIRF in its 30 years, then played a DVD showcasing SIRF 2017. Alison Clark, National Director Combined Arts, Arts Council thanked Reuben for her introduction by him and also for her involvement and contribution of SIRF.

At the same time due to numbers, four other satellite reception events were taking place across the town by: Economic Growth & Development Services at the Georgian Theatre, Green Dragon Yard, Culture Quarter; Adult Services/Public Health at Borges, Yarm Lane; Community Engagement at Mohujos by the River, Riverside; and CESC/Children Services at Hope and Union, Silver Street, Cultural Quarter.

At the bewitching hour, and in sequence, the Visitor Experience teams escorted the guests to the Riverside to watch ‘Frameshift’.


‘Frameshift’ -  Interactive Technology artists combined with acrobatics, displaying stunning vertical performances.

Frameshift created by Australian and Korean collaboration from ‘Stalker Theatre’ and ‘Creative Dandi’ and Drifterzcrew as interactive technology artists combined with acrobatic performances groups to display stunning vertical performances, contemporary dance, video mapping and digital interactive technology in a dazzling opening show, with the backdrop of Stockton’s Riverside. This took you through a journey in time in Korea; 1926, 2016 and 2106 as snapshots of time exploring who we are as we make our way from the past into the future.


Stockton High Street  - everyone’s gone to the riverside event.

This was a truly unique and visually stunning show, another tribute to Stockton Borough Council in organising this fabulous prestigious event, well done to all involved.


Saturday 5 August 2017

Attended the Stockton International Riverside Festival Carnival at the Municipal Car Park, The Square/High Street, Stockton

Opened the SIRF festival carnival in its 30th year and met with all the participants in the municipal car park before the start of the carnival parade and everyone was in high spirits.

From the Municipal Buildings we led the parade through the High Street and were totally bowled over by the amount of people that were lining the route. It was a sea of happy and welcoming faces, the band were on fine form and they played Happy Birthday for SIRF’s 30th year. We led the way down to the river were we enjoyed the carnival atmosphere with live music and activities. Many people lined the embankments, brought picnics and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon regalia.

The parade was spectacular as were the costumes and the weather, for once, did us proud.


Clowning about in the Municipal car park


Uni-cyclists – Getting ready for the off



Clowns making an impression


Acrobatic measures on the big hula hoop



Beautiful costumes worn by beautiful people


They gave me a drum roll as they marched past



They were definitely prepared for any showers


Caribbean costumes in party mood


Picnicking on the riverside embankment


Performers on stilts


But where are the clowns, there ought to be clowns, well maybe next year


Sunday 6 August 2017

Attended SIRF in Stockton High Street

During the day there were performances by many groups of entertainers with the crowds enjoying a party atmosphere throughout, with party games including a large scale interactive game zone inspired by a classic arcade games, and oversized bingo compared by Beryl and Cyril who made bingo an official Paralympic sport. There were also SIRF favourites Walley Range All Stars, who came back again this year, bringing their miniature town to life with witty use of objects triggering sound effects.


Other performances we saw during the day included:-

  • The Merry Maker – Arji Manuelpiiai performed one minute raps on his three wheeled bike
  • The Jukeboxes – Bringing celebrity stars to life from past and present
  • Massager – Beautiful performances drawing on audience participation to highlight, through the use of massage, how fragile life is
  • Interaction – Explored the absence of communication via movements
  • Callings – Acrobatic stilt walkers performing unique dance and theatre
  • D-Construction – Energetic hip hop performances and oriental twist
  • Table Manners – The Avant-Garde dance company’s new outdoor performance depicting human relationships
  • Corazon A Corazon – Deaf men dancing, a fusion of dance on themes of love, sex, betrayal, politics, oppression and power
  • Arthur’s Odyssey – Brings together the N/E most exciting circus talent in a newly created circus spectacular for family’s to enjoy
  • Baba Yaga’s House – A roaming show inspired by fairy tales
  • The Actual Reality Arcade – was enjoyed by many children, a life sized interactive game zone
  • VR Playground – A thrill laboratory performing the art of creativity through special visors
  • Witness This – Following the journey and struggle with Bipolar


Walley Range All Stars – bringing a miniature town to life


Baba Yaga’s House – A roaming show of Fairy-tails

undefined The Jukeboxes – Bring stars from the past

 undefined VR Playground – A life sized interactive Game Arcade.

The four day SIRF 30th birthday event came to a dramatic close with a breath taking flaming high wire performance above the audience in the ground of Holy Trinity Church. The heart stopping performance stared the only high wire fire walker, Jade Kindar-Martin and was accompanied by live music and a dancing sea of colour. It was amazing.

SIRF once again has been an astonishing event which has been spectacular over the four days bringing a buzz into the town and enjoyment for so many people. I wish to thank the many people who supported the festival and to the organisers who have created one of best venues of all time, an incredible experience, and also give thanks to the Arts Council for their invaluable support.